- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

MARATHON, Iowa (AP) - A northwestern Iowa town is considering turning to the sun to provide power to its nearly 250 residents.

The town of Marathon in Buena Vista County is considering building a 1.42-megawatt solar project on city-owned land to supply power to residents, the Sioux City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2j9rcuN ). The more than 1,400 solar panels would be built on a former baseball field.

A study by renewable energy company Trusted Energy, based in Spencer, says the proposed project would save Marathon residents $2 million over 20 years in electric costs and produce 2 million kilowatt hours per year.

Currently, Marathon receives its electrical service from the neighboring city of Laurens.

Trusted Energy CEO Rob Hach said in a statement that the planning, engineering, equipment and installation costs of building the solar park would not be directly footed by the city.

“The cost for the project will not require the city to bond or take on more debt as the project will be owned and operated by Marathon Power Partners LLC, which will be a collaboration of local investors and banks to finance the project,” Hach said.

The $2.5 million startup cost to build the solar park could be paid off within 10 years of it becoming operational, he said.

The town would buy its power from Marathon Power Partners, and by doing so would lock in a fixed power rate, which is how the citizens’ utility savings would be generated, said Veronica McFadden, a project developer for Trusted Energy.

The Marathon City Council agreed at a Jan. 10 meeting to look into the project, but did not make a binding commitment to Trusted Energy.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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